Summer is about over and fall is a busy season in the fitness industry, second only to January and New Year's resolutions for an influx of new members and potential clients. If your fitness professionals are not skilled at helping people overcome mental barriers to joining a health club or purchasing training, then those people will never take the steps they need to get fit.

Most prospects and members mention the same obstacles to joining a health club, which means that if your staff is prepared with responses to help people overcome those obstacles, you will be successful.

Here are five common objections:

  • I want to think about.
  • I don't know if I'll stick to it.
  • I've tried before and never experienced any results.
  • I can't afford it.
  • I'm too busy.

When you have responses prepared for each objection and have role played various scenarios, you can often overcome concerns. Here is a system that can help:

1. Listen to the entire concern without interrupting.

2. Paraphrase and repeat the obstacle back to them. Let their brain hear what they just said. When they hear it coming from your mouth, the brain processes it differently. Often, they realize that the obstacle is not valid, and they need to stop thinking and take action. You could use paraphrasing similar to this:

  • "It sounds like you're concerned that you might not be able to stick with this long enough to experience great results."
  • "So, you're a bit concerned with how much this will cost."
  • "It sounds like you're not sure how you're going to be able to fit exercise into your already busy lifestyle."
  • "It sounds like you want to take some more time to figure out if this is really important to you and you're ready to make the commitment to achieving your goals."
  • "So you need to talk to your husband to make sure he's okay with you taking this step."

3. Wait. Give them time to agree with the paraphrase, to talk themselves into taking action or to pose another obstacle. Often after you paraphrase, they will confirm that what you said was correct, at which point you can skip to the next step.

Or they might say more, such as something similar to this:

"Well, I am concerned that I won't stick with it because I've tried exercise before and never succeeded, but I guess that's what I'm hiring you for. You're going to help me stick with it and provide the accountability I need. I think I just need to do this and stop dragging my heels." They just convinced themselves to take action. You can now close by getting their commitment—scheduling an appointment, asking which package they would like to go with, etc.

"Well, I know you'll help me stick with it. I guess I am just more concerned about how much this will cost." Go back to the first step. Paraphrase and repeat the obstacle back to them. Once you get affirmation and are dealing with the true obstacle, move to the next step.

4. Show understanding. Say things such as, "I can completely understand that. Many of our clients had very similar concerns when they first started with us."

5. Ask questions and/or give information (see next page).

6. Close. Schedule an appointment, decide on a package/service, decide on payment options, fill out paperwork, etc.